Dawg Fight – Review
Where most movies begin with a high speed car chase, soldiers ready to raid a house, mob bosses making the big mob move, or some super hero about to make a grand entrance in a scene. Dawg Fight begins in Perrine, FL with Dada 5000 saying “…This ends one of three ways: By knock out, Referee stopping, or by YOU quitin…” it’s right before a fight and he is laying down the rules. Dawg Fight is a documentary, meaning these are not actors, or scripted talents gathered. It’s two guys in a back yard ring. Fighting bare knuckles, getting ready to possibly lose an eye or break something. As the fight begins and the scenes go through a sequence of events, a fighter looks at the camera and spits out a tooth. It’s something you see in movies like Fight Club but in Perrine, FL it was a neighborhood event.
The movie focuses on the lives of a couple fighters throughout each event. The story of the back yard fighting began years ago with Kimbo slice and then with the rise of Level Martinez which is a Nicaraguan fighter from Miami. They rose in popularity in the fighting world and both have roots in Backyard Fighting. You would think that the cops would storm the event with guns drawn knowing the kind of event it is but, it’s not what happens. It’s an event and the only fighting taking place is in the ring. The rest of the people are there to see the fight and eat some homemade BBQ and/or whatever the neighborhood brought out to cook as street vendors. It’s an amazing thing to see because it starts to look like a block party. One of Dada 5000’s friends says the only reason the event even happened was because the cops are their biggest fans. That says so much right there because in a neighborhood that has such a bad rap sheet. This event has brought everyone together to enjoy a couple good fights in a ring without everyone else breaking out into a fight. Every step of this journey is impressive because no matter how you look at it. This is how you hustle and make the best of things.
The story isn’t focused only on the back yard fights alone. It revolves around Dada 5000 and how he has evolved from street fighter to professional MMA and has learned enough to push his own league into a new level of its evolution. The transition is not easy by any means but once he starts to learn you feel like the movie is a modern day Rocky. The transition from street fighting to MMA is not an easy one and seeing Dada 5000’s journey is nothing short of amazing not because of the his success in putting together a great event in his neighborhood that spawned some fighting talent. But because there is a sense of humility when walking away from being a king of his own league to become a student of another league no matter how similar it is.
Dada 5000 is the Don King of the back yard fighting. He wears all the hats that it takes to run that operation. From security, talent bookings, promoting, being the referee and he competes. Everyone loves him. He brings the neighborhood together like that one family member that can call a get together at any time and its cool. You should never mistake someone’s kindness for weakness or under estimate them and by “them” I mean “HIM”. He is one of the best fighters in the streets. The fighters he works and worked with during his events all strive to make something better. Unfortunately there were two fighters that had died before the release of Dawg Fight. I’m sure they would have loved to see their glories and loses in film. If not for this movie their lives would have been chalked up as a statistic and memory for those that knew them. That’s what makes documentaries so powerful. This film did not disappoint. Dawg Fight follows suite with director Billy Corbens previous as works as an amazing story of the underdog, coming up. The struggle to break away from the day to day issues some face is a common story in Perrine more so for most of low income parts of the world. Especially those that can not and probably will not pursue higher education or can’t find a job due to felony chargers on their record.
Dawg Fight is a great film and worth the watch. It must have been difficult to squeeze two years of filming into an hour and a half. I hope there is a round 2 to the film to dive deeper into a sub culture that’s strays away from the norm. Great job to Rakontur.